Rethinking Mixing

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Rethinking Mixing

Originally when I started reading this weeks reading I was completely frustrated. The first reading I found very degrading and racist… I couldn’t see the point in reading it. Why were we studying this dominating ideological discourse and what purpose does it serve to our study? I realized (after reading the response from our professor after my frustrated email) that there indeed was a purpose to reading this. It came after finishing reading it, then after completing the following reading. Both presented different perspectives that I felt balanced nicely, or at least presented the opportunity for critical analysis.
I found myself in the beginning of The Cosmic Race, The mission of the Ibero American Race by Jose Vasconcelos, unable to read a paragraph without saying “What?!” But then I realized that it was written in 1948 by a man who is considered a very controversial figure, but nonetheless expressed an typical rhetorical claim surrounding the inclusivity of Mestizaje and its importance to lead the world, through in a sense plucking the best of all races to achieve the greatest civilization. Yet I could not fully appreciate this text until I understood the context of when it was written, why it was written, by whom it was written and for whom it was written for… I am still trying to answer these questions as they help explain the text in more depth.
From what I understand it seemed that this text was written to promote the ideology of racial mixing and professing that it was an inclusive strategy to unify the country through what Vasconcelos suggest, a platform based on “love”. The text however wasn’t very convincing to me. Most of all Vasconcelos’ judgments had not logical evidence attached, and his assumptions of difference races were based on constructed racial divides that did not seem to reflect any form of reality. Yet what this text ultimately serves for the benefit of understanding popular culture within Latin America, is its insight into a particular influential ideology that many hegemonic powers and political elites hold and have tried to perpetuate throughout Latin American societies. This is the notion that racial mixing with the goal of whitening and is the central aspect of the a constructed National Body.
The second article presents a more modern perspective into the analysis of the term and the context of mestizaje, one I feel was articulated more so in LAST 100 and what I presume is present in more recent geographical or anthropological research papers. Nevertheles “Rethinking Mestizaje” by Peter Wade still has its own biases and fallacies like the other article. Although it tries to resist the exclusive framework that mestizaje is built upon, (despite seemingly having an inclusive mask) and it uses the racial terms, such as black, white, indigenous, which only fortify already exclusive divides and thus Wade is not really able to get away from the exclusive connotations that mestizaje and race bring forth. A few questions to be critical about and aware is how we classify race and what that means to the individual and society.

—all in all i look forward to discussing the articles in class


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